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Parts 4 and 5 of the Grinding Gear Games developer Q&A are now available on the official Path of Exile forums. Some good questions in there, so without further ado, here are a few cherry-picked examples:
The in-game system of skills and crafting is amazing in its logic and variety. Have you thought about creating a PoE card game, or maybe adding a mini-game that you could play with some of the NPCs? (Question from Russian community)
We briefly thought about it but decided not to go ahead with this type of idea. We want to make sure to build on the strengths of PoE's core gameplay and we felt that a built-in card game would be a distraction at best.
When and how was the first concept/idea of PoE born? What was the first steps of its actual realisation?
Jonathan and I had talked about creating an Action RPG for some time prior to us starting Path of Exile. We knew that Erik and Brian were interested in being involved, but we just needed to find the right time to start the project. That time ended up being November 2006, once Jonathan had finished university. Initially we worked on getting a rudimentary online realm up (without 3d graphics) and an item system. Being able to log in, move around and manipulate items was a core early goal.
Are there any plans for a new engine or engine update so the game doesn't look so dated?
The team are constantly updating the engine and the game's graphics to avoid it looking dated. For example, 3.0.0 has significant improvements to the water tech. I suspect that the areas you feel are dated are the older assets in Acts 1-3 that haven't received attention for a while. We're gradually going back and replacing things (like rocks in Act 1 for example) to address this problem.
How many new skill gems you are going to introduce with 3.0?
The current plan is between two and four. We have many prototypes in development, but only intend to release skills when they're ready and awesome.
Are you happy with the thousands of ShaderCache files that are being written to our disks? Are they ever read again?
Yes. They're a cache so that if that shader is encountered again, it can be read off the disk rather than recalculated, which prevents a short lag spike. If you have been playing for many years then it's probably fine to delete them and allow a smaller set to be regenerated, but it's harmless to have them around. Over time we get more and more of the shaders into the GGG-provided ShaderCache built by our build system.
Can we get a definitive answer on whether there will be any kind of transfer/sharing of our Path of Exile PC account to the Xbox version? i.e. Will microtransactions we own be available on the xbox version, or do they have to be purchased again?
PC and Xbox One accounts are completely separate. You can't transfer anything between them.